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2021 Stayers' Hurdle Tips – We're all in on this 8/1 shot at Cheltenham

  • We’ve published our guide to the 2021 Stayers' Hurdle
  • The Stayers' Hurdle is the Championship race on day three of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival
  • Paisley Park and Thyme Hill top the current betting
  • Sire Du Berlais is our best each-way bet at 8/1
sire du berlais
Sire Du Berlais (right) gets up to win his second Pertemps Final in 2020. (Getty)

The card on St Patrick’s Day features three excellent Grade Ones, the last of those being the Stayers’ Hurdle. This is the oldest of the four Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival, having first been staged in 1912, and legendary stayers like Inglis Drever, Baracouda and Big Buck’s have won this hurdle during its illustrious history.

50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar won an attritional renewal of the Stayers' Hurdle 12 months ago. Apple's Jade made the field chase an unsustainable pace, and most of the runners were out on their feet approaching the last. Rebecca Curtis' outsider proved himself the hardiest stayer on the day.

With no tear-away leader like Apple's Jade in the field this year, I'll be expecting an honest and even pace to be set, which should ensure the classiest horses come to the fore. Plus, this year's renewal of the Stayers’ Hurdle is already looking much stronger than the last, as you can see from the latest betting.

2021 Stayers’ Hurdle Guide


2021 Stayers' Hurdle Odds


Name
Odds
Paisley Park3/1
Thyme Hill7/2
Roksana7/1
Sire Du Berlais8/1
Champ10/1
McFabulous12/1
Flooring Porter12/1
Kemboy12/1
The Storyteller12/1
Fury Road12/1
Bar14/1

*Odds taken from Paddy Power 19/2/21*

2021 Stayers’ Hurdle Tips – The Top Two


Paisley Park2021 Stayers' Hurdle FavouriteGET 3/1 HERE
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Paisley Park and Thyme Hill have been locked in a battle for favouritism since Newbury, where Philip Hobbs’ star held off the former champion stayer to win the Long Distance Hurdle. Paisley Park managed to turn the tables on Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot before Christmas, after which he leapfrogged his rival at the head of the Stayers’ Hurdle betting.

As Paisley Park came sweeping past in the dying strides at Ascot, Richard Johnson let out an almighty scream of frustration. Did Dickie take his eye off the ball and wind Thyme Hill down too early? I think he may have done. I think Thyme Hill will finish ahead of Paisley Park when they clash again on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Yet, in a race as competitive as this, where a capacity field is all-but-guaranteed, I don’t fancy backing either at prices shorter than 7/2.

2021 Stayers’ Hurdle Tips – Other Targets


Roksana2021 Stayers' Hurdle ContenderGET 6/1 HERE
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Roksana followed Paisley Park and Thyme Hill home at Ascot, going down by two lengths on heavy ground which was far from ideal. Dan Skelton’s mare has looked better than ever this season, romping to victory in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, before brushing Magic Of Light aside with disdain to win her second Grade Two in the Warfield Hurdle.

Skelton is convinced three-miles is Roksana’s best trip, and she would enter the Stayers’ Hurdle as a live contender. However, with Honeysuckle set for the Champion Hurdle and Benie Des Dieux out of the picture, Roksana would have just Concertista to beat if she returned to the Mares’ Hurdle – a race she won in 2019. I think team Skelton would have missed a trick if they didn’t go down the Mares’ Hurdle route.

McFabulous has shown glimpses of real quality this term, and wasn’t beaten all that far in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. Paul Nicholls, however, feels that Cheltenham is a track that wouldn’t suit his improving seven-year-old, and I expect the team will wait for Aintree before going novice chasing next season. Champ also sits prominently in the betting, but Nicky Henderson has said switching back to hurdles would be a "step backwards", so a run here looks very unlikely.

paisley park
Roksana (centre) running against Thyme Hill and Paisley Park at Ascot. (Getty)

2021 Stayers’ Hurdle Tips – Surprise Challengers


Flooring Porter2020 Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle WinnerGET 12/1 HERE
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Flooring Porter made all to win the Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas, and will likely make the running again at Cheltenham. The time he set in December was two seconds slower than the Pertemps Qualifier run on the same day, and 12 second slower than the Savills Chase, run over the same trip. Gavin Cromwell’s charge was given a soft lead that day and the fancied runners all underperformed. He won’t get it easy at Cheltenham.

Kemboy will also be up with the pace throughout, as is his want over fences. Willie Mullins’ Irish Gold Cup winner has never jumped fences well at the Cheltenham Festival, so dropping back to the Stayers’ Hurdle seems sensible. However, Mullins’ nine-year-old hasn’t faced hurdles in competition since a fairly average novice hurdles campaign back in 2016/17, and I don’t think Cheltenham is his kind of track.

In contrast, The Storyteller has shown plenty of decent form over hurdles and fences in the last 18 months, and we know he goes well at Cheltenham. Gordon Elliott’s charge has won a Grade One over fences this season, and followed Flooring Porter home at Leopardstown. The former Paddy Power Plate winner has to be respected, but there are others around his price who appeal more.

Sam’s Profile returned from the wilderness to beat Diol Ker in the Galmoy Hurdle last month. Grade One-winning chaser, Itchy Feet could run in this Grade One, as could If The Cap Fits, Vinndication and Emitom, after disappointing in recent starts over fences. All six are high-quality horses, but it’s hard to make a case for any of them.

2021 Stayers’ Hurdle Tips – Overpriced Outsiders


Ronald Pump2020 Stayers' Hurdle Runner-UpGET 14/1 HERE
18+ only. Ts and Cs apply. Gamble responsibly.

The form of last year’s Albert Bartlett is looking very strong. Monkfish and Latest Exhibition have finished first and second in two Grade Ones over fences, and we know how well Thyme Hill has progressed. Finishing one place ahead of Thyme Hill in third that day was Fury Road, and he offers plenty of value at his current price.

Having decided to stay over hurdles this term, Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old claimed an easy win in the Celebration Hurdle on his reappearance. Like many of Elliott’s runners over Christmas, Fury Road looked flat in the Christmas Hurdle when fourth behind Flooring Porter. A big run on the back of that would not be a shock.

Another who’s been overlooked is Ronald Pump, who may have beaten Lisnagar Oscar 12 months ago, had he jumped the last a little better. Last year’s tilt at the Stayers’ Hurdle was a last-minute decision, but it’s been the plan for Ronald Pump since the start of this campaign, and his runner-up effort behind Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace looks a strong piece of form.

LISNAGAR OSCAR
Ronald Pump (right) jumps the last alongside Lisnagar Oscar in the 2020 Stayers' Hurdle. (Getty)

2021 Stayers’ Hurdle Tips – A Confident Selection


Sire Du Berlais E/W2021 Stayers' Hurdle Best BetGET 8/1 HERE
18+ only. Ts and Cs apply. Gamble responsibly.

While both Fury Road and Ronald Pump stand out at their current prices, I’m going all-in on SIRE DU BERLAIS. I backed Gordon Elliott’s dual-Pertemps Final winner at the beginning of the season, and nothing I’ve seen since then has changed my mind.

Last year’s Pertemps Final was run in a time three seconds quicker than the Stayers' Hurdle. What's more, Sire Du Berlais was six seconds faster from the second-last to the line than Lisnagar Oscar, despite carrying an extra two pounds on his back. 

After getting up to win the Lismullen Hurdle on his reappearance, Sire Du Berlais disappointed in the Christmas Hurdle. That wasn't the first time Elliott's hurdler had thrown in a stinker around Leopardstown. Sire Du Berlais ran so badly in a Pertemps Qualifier at the Christmas meeting last season, Elliott was forced to send his star on an unscheduled trip to Warwick in January, just to book his place in the final.

Sire Du Berlais loves Cheltenham and he does his best work in the spring. We know he has the quality to win a Stayers’ Hurdle, and I feel only a fall would keep him out of the places. At 8/1, Sire Du Berlais offers fantastic each-way value.

*UPDATE*

JP McManus has not switched Sire Du Berlais away from Gordon Elliott's yard, so he'll run for Denise Foster at Cheltenham. There's been little talk about Elliott's actual runners building up to Cheltenham, as the photo scandal has overshadowed his runners. I still think Sire Du Berlais is the best each-way bet in this race, I'd just like to see some positive market support in the build-up to really bolster my confidence.

US

Verdict

The performance Sire Du Berlais produced to win last year's Pertemps Final off top-weight would have been enough to win that year's Stayers' Hurdle. Gordon Elliott will have him primed for the big day. 8/1 is an excellent price.

2021 Stayers' Hurdle Tips: Sire Du Berlais Each-Way @800.00 at BetMGM - 15 Units

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